Salon du Bourget
1926 exhibitors from 41 countries, 238 aircraft, 480.000 visitors in 7 days,among them 223.000 professionals and 257.000 spectators...
These numbers already make clear that this year's Paris Air Show has been a massive success. Pushed, of course, by the presence of the Airbus A380 at its first public appearance, the show attracted loads of visitors. Everybody wanted to see the "A trois cent quatre-vingt", and they were not disappointed as it flew daily.
Where? Paris/Le Bourget - France
This year exhibitors from the USA were also present after their absence due to frictions between France and the US in 2003. Boeing presented their new B777-200LR and the KC-767A tanker in full colours, which will be delivered to the Italian Air Force. However, their flight display participation was sparse. Only the F/A-18F Super Hornet flew in the flight display. Regarding this fact I am really looking back when there was still a B717 in the flight display... Also the 777 did not fly, but even a lot more interesting was the waterbombing demonstration of a DC-10! The former Dreamliner, which is now called 787, was also already present at every corner of the Salon. We might see it live on stage in two years?!
Besides the US the Russian participation was remarkable as once again a Sukhoi Su-30SKM was present at Le Bourget. The other competitors for the best military jet flight display were the usual ones: Rafale, Eurofighter and Mirage 2000, F-16. New was a Torando IDS MLU, presented by Alenia. The future in from of a lot of VCAVs and UAVs could also be admired. Let's hope there will still be some real jets in the future for an exciting flight display!
Further premieres at Le Bourget were: the HJT-36 Sitara jet trainer and the Dhruv and Cheetal helicopters, the Aermacchi M346, the Embraer 195 (which flew displays together with the 175) and the Dassault Falcon 7X.
But, unfortunately, with all these 'first shows', came also the farewell to the Mirage IV, which flew on Monday for President Chiraques. After the retiring of Concorde two years ago this was another sad end for a French legend.
Let's see what highs and lows will await us in two years for the 47th edition of the 'Salon du Bourget' as this edition was a big and firm step to establish itself as Europe's premier aeronautical fair!